MSS-062-French-Canadian Education at the NIGS

Episode #62-June 1, 2017

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There are many ways for us genealogists to spend our money. So today’s episode introduces you to the offerings of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Hopefully after this interview with Louise St. Denis, you will have a better idea as to whether or not the courses they provide at NIGS offer what you need to attain your genealogy education goals.

French-Canadian Education at the NIGS

During the interview, Louise and I discussed the following:

Louise told the story of the beginning of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, including its affiliation with the University of Toronto and the challenges of being a pioneer in online course creation.

Three courses of interest

Three courses are of particular interest to French-Canadian genealogists:

  • Research: French-Canadian Ancestors
    Research: Acadian Ancestors
    Researching French Forts of New France

All courses consist of common modules such as history, geography, boundary changes, and resources such as census records. They also cover appropriate genealogical societies, libraries, and online resources.

To see which modules are included in each course, go to, click on “courses,” and search alphabetically for the course name.

All courses are online and self-inclusive. They usually include reading material, a case study, assignments, practicums, and exams. The analysis and skills mentoring courses require two scheduled appointments per course with a consultant for a review.

The certificate program

If you’d like, you can pursue a certificate program at NIGS. There are certificate programs for the records of Canada, the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Australia. Soon, certificates will also be offered for Italian and Eastern European research. For each certificate, there is a group of compulsory records courses, compulsory methodology courses, as well as electives that you can tailor for your own needs.

For a Canadian certificate, there are approximately twenty-eight compulsory courses and twelve elective courses. After receiving your certificate, you have earned the right to place the post-nominals PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies) after your name.

For each basic course, the length of time to complete the course depends on the student’s experience level. As a general rule, it will take an experienced person about 5-7 hours per module per course. Each course, on average, consists of six modules. An inexperienced genealogist should count on 6-8 hours per module.

Courses start the first Monday of each month. To check out the schedule, go to, click on “Courses,” then “Course Calendar.” To save money, packages of multiple courses are available.


Louise has generously made the following offers for Maple Stars and Stripes listeners:

  • 50% off either Research: French-Canadian Ancestors, Research: Acadian Ancestors, or Researching French Forts of New France. Use code mss50 at checkout.
  • 10% off any one package. Use code mss10 at checkout.

Contact NIGS

E-mail Louise at admin [at] genealogicalstudies [dot] com, or phone NIGS at 1-800-580-0165. Use extension 1 to speak to Louise herself.


NERGC 2017

All five speakers for the French-Canadian track on Friday provided a wealth of information. A couple have also agreed to share their knowledge on a future podcast.

At the French-Canadian table at the NEAPG Table Topics Luncheon, someone brought up the upcoming Nouvelle France Tour 2018. Be sure to sign up for the MSS Newsletter as that will be the first place we announce the itinerary and sign-up procedure.

Survey 56 results

Four more suggested podcasts from your fellow genealogists:

The National Archives PodcastThe National Archive Podcast Series from the National Archives in the UK is “mostly English history. But as we know, English history and French history were always closely intertwined…” There are articles on Tracing Huguenot Ancestors, Finding Your Family in Canada, and Child Emigration to Canada.
Biography PodcastBiography “talks about a character from history over a couple episodes. I find as they speak about the person, the life and times, what was going on in the time period, comes through, too, which can be helpful.”




In Our Time: History podcastIn Our Time: History provides “great episodes that remind [me] of what I learned (and forgot) in History class. Episodes range from a scientist born in 1766 to a Quaker Family to the collapse of the Bronze Age. Helps make my genealogy timeline more visual.”




The Bowery Boys podcastThe Bowery Boys: New York City History is self-expalnatory!




Drouin Institute

For a future episode of Maple Stars and Stripes, do you have any questions for the Drouin Institute about the LaFrance database? Have your questions answered by an expert. Email your questions before June 30, 2017, to maplestarsandstripes [at] gmail [dot] com.

French-Canadian News

What's Happening Header



The Franco-American Centre

June 17, 2017, 4-10 PM, St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Manchester, New Hampshire: La Fête Saint-Jean-Baptiste, where, from their website, “people who love French culture gather together for a celebration of the Franco-American experience. Following a Mass there will be a festive dinner. Special guest will be ‘Franco-American of the Year 2017’ Maurice Demers.”

June 24, from 12:30-3:30 PM at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester: the NH PoutineFest 2017. Again, according to their website, “Created in Québec, Poutine – French fries with cheese and gravy – is rapidly becoming popular throughout the US. But who makes the best? Come find out as regional restaurants compete for the judges’ title of best poutine! Sample each and make your voice known for the people’s choice award!”

The French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan

June 18, at noon, you can join members of the French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan at the Ste. Anne de Detroit French Mass celebrated by Father Ronald D. Witherup, Superior General of the Sulpicians, followed by a guided tour of the church and a visit to the tomb of Father Gabriel Richard.

French Heritage Day-Vermont

June 25, in Winooski, VT: French Heritage Day with live music, art, crafts, history, food, and language.

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